If the globally fashionable look increasingly homogenous, blame it on fast fashion. Chicisimo, the Spain-based international social fashion network, which we love for its excellent candids and almost uniformly stylish membership, researched which brands on-trend women the world over actually wear most. They released their findings today, based on over 200,000 looks posted on the site so far during 2012. The data they discovered was quite interesting, starting with the glaring fact that women the world over can’t do without H&M and Zara.
At least one of those two chains was ranked either first or second in every country listed, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, and Poland. While H&M and Zara are popular the world over, how often women wear those brands and others popular in their country noticeably affects the presence of smaller labels. Where women wear their country’s top 20 most popular brands less, it seems easier for smaller labels to penetrate the industry. Where women’s wardrobes skew predominantly toward the top 20, it was much less likely to see them post clothing from outsider brands. The U.S., you’ll be glad to note, scored well — 78% of the site’s American members are likely to post clothing that fell outside the mainstream top 20.
Beyond the global hegemony exercised by H&M and Zara, native fast fashion chains also scored well on their home turf — think Pimkie in France (#3), Forever 21 in the U.S. (#1), and Topshop in the UK (#2).
Also of importance: brands the world over who rose in the rankings from last year are those with notably strong e-commerce, namely, ASOS, Mango, and Zara (the last of which introduced American online retail to great fanfare last year).
So, what can brands take away from Chicisimo’s data? For smaller labels, it could be beneficial to try to gain a foothold in countries where women don’t turn to mainstream brands quite so much. For everyone, it’s time to beef up e-commerce. It’s not just Americans who shop online — global online retail is on the rise. Those with stronger online platforms should expect to see a direct correlation between their robust online presence and how often women wear their clothes.